FIA president Jean Todt regrets WRC delay to embrace hybrid power

FIA president Jean Todt is disappointed the World Rally Championship has not embraced hybrid technology sooner and admits the governing body should have pushed harder for the move

FIA president Jean Todt regrets WRC delay to embrace hybrid power

Key aspects of the hybrid future of the World Rally Championship are being discussed by the FIA's technical working group this week with decisions set to be announced on the specification of the 2022 World Rally Cars on October 1.

Todt said the manufacturers involved in the series had to shoulder some of the blame for the delay after 'resisting the introduction of new technologies earlier'.

Todt said: "We are very late, and this is a frustration for me.

"I was in Frankfurt [for the motor show] two days ago and all cars which were not electric were kind of hidden, it's caricatured.

"So, we are in a world where we cannot escape climate change.

"I am very proud we introduced Formula E and new regulations for the powertrain in Formula 1 and endurance, but unfortunately [for rallying], with cars very similar [to the ones we see] on the normal road, [in a sport] happening on the roads, we are still with a combustion engine.

"Maybe we have not been strong enough to enforce regulations which include new technologies, but better late than never.

"It is going to happen."

However, the teams believe a 2022 move to hybrid power could be too soon.

One team insider told Autosport: "What about Mexico? I'm not sure we're looking forward to going to Mexico, with the heat and the altitude in the mountains, and running with a 50-kilogramme battery for the first time when we start the rally.

"There are still a few questions we need answering and we need them answering quickly.

"The teams are doing a lot of preparation and investigation work for the FIA on this, but the time is moving very quickly. 2022 will be here very soon."

FIA rally director Yves Matton confirmed new manufacturers were looking at 2022 regulations, with one brand following them closely.

"Because they are following, it doesn't mean they [will] come," said Matton.

"It's a long process to bring a new manufacturer, but the main thing is that we know they don't come without hybrid [power]."

Matton confirmed the target was to keep costs at a similar level to the current regulations with the hope of attracting the new manufacturer(s) into the championship.

"With the manufacturers, we are working to see what we can do with the cars and not to spend any money on engineering, which is not giving back any return on investment in terms of marketing," said Matton.

On the subject of a move away from petrol, Todt added: "Our team is talking with the teams to see if we can introduce [2022 regulations] directly with biofuel.

"This would be a game-changer. This is the direction in which we are searching."

The current single-make WRC fuel supplier's contract runs out at the end of 2021.

shares
comments
Citroen using Wales test for WRC upgrade decision
Previous article

Citroen using Wales test for WRC upgrade decision

Next article

Dani Sordo expected to stay at Hyundai amid Toyota WRC rumours

Dani Sordo expected to stay at Hyundai amid Toyota WRC rumours
Load comments
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Plus

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Plus

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against team-mate Elfyn Evans

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021